The Supreme Judicial Court has issued its opinion in Committee for Public Counsel Services vs. Massachusetts Attorney General and the District Attorneys. This case involved a claim by C.P.C.S. (the public defenders) that all cases tested by the Department of Public Health’s Amherst laboratory must be dismissed because of the conduct of a chemist.
The chemist in question was employed by the lab for approximately nine years. The court decided that cases from that lab between June of 2009 and January 2013, whether the chemist in question was involved or not and all cases involving methamphetamine during her entire tenure had to be dismissed.
Committee for Public Counsel Services was seeking to have every case from that lab dismissed for the entire nine year tenure of this particular chemist.
Notwithstanding the rejection of Committee for Public Counsel Services’ claim the decision was more expansive in its scope than the state’s District Attorneys had argued for.
District Attorney O’Keefe said that the scope of the ruling is directly related to the level of the misconduct of the Attorney General’s Office. He added that the he was grateful that the court recognized the hard work District Attorneys did to identify and notify individuals whose cases were affected by the chemist’s misconduct and discerned no fault in any actions by District Attorneys.